The word ‘idiocrat’ is an important one to describe much of the ‘idiocracy’ that we see in the world today.  The root words are, of course, ‘idiot’ and ‘bureaucrat’.

I have been using this word ever since I realised that the popular negative idea of a bureaucratic person is one who stalls or delays due process, and when the work flow is not good enough to explain some nonsensical procedures in the Malaysian public services. Let me give some examples.

For example, the Government Orders or GO (from Ordinances) and Treasury Instructions or TI (from Financial and Procurement Procedures) simply and clearly state that all public assets belong to the people of Malaysia and any ‘disbursement’ of these must follow due processes. These procedures are elaborately spelt out for all to learn and understand.

azlanSimilarly, all public properties (including public lands) cannot be disposed of without due process. Therefore, if the Defence Ministry wants to dispose of the Sungai Besi Air Force Base, there must be a due process and the Finance Ministry must oversee this process. I do not think there are exceptions, other than those permitted by the finance minister under rather exceptional circumstances.

I would like to argue that the opportunity for Feed-in-Tariff that is being disposed by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) is also a public asset and therefore must follow due processes of the Finance Ministry.

Seda is a public authority and it even has a very notable group of governors, with an ex-minister for chairperson and five members of authority, all of whom appear very capable and very well qualified.

Therefore, allow me to rebut the stupidity of the so-called legal advice given by the lawyers for Seda and as quoted by the CEO, with the resulting headline in TheSun: ‘Seda: We are powerless’.

To quote the CEO: “We have noted...... and in fact to be honest with you, when you talk about the majority of the certain personnel owning that big bulk of quota............. we knew in the next day (after applications were approved). But we checked with the lawyers, who said that we can’t refuse (the applications, or risk being) sued and (that) there will be a litigation case.”

Reminder of functions

My dear CEO, let me give you a Management 101 lecture.
Please refer to Sefa’s functions on your website and read the first three:
  • To advise (emphasis added) the minister and relevant government entities on all matters relating to sustainable energy including recommendations on policies laws and actions to be applied to promote sustainable energy
  • To promote and implement the national policy objectives for renewable energy
  • To promote, stimulate, facilitate and develop sustainable energy
My question is, who are your governing advisers? Is it a young and inexperienced lawyer or even a law firm, or your board of governors that you call a ‘Board of Authority’?

I have only highlighted the three advisory functions; the rest are execution functions and, according to the website, are a summary of the enabling legislation that set up Seda as a statutory body.

azlanTherefore, please refer to your board of governors to solve the problem you have created for yourselves.
Please review the law and seek policy advice from the Finance Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers before you make any more public statements and prove you are an ‘idiocrat’ as per my definition: ‘An idiocrat is any learned person who pretends that they know how to read the law, and then allow themselves to interpret the law at their whim or fancy to rule by law, instead of observing and understanding that we are a democratic nation under the rule of law principle.’

Let me end with this appeal to some of my friends on the Seda board, and to the chairperson of the board.
Please seek advice, even from Sidek Mohd Hassan and he will tell you how to get out of this so-called quandary.

His daughter may apply for these opportunities and, if qualified, she should be given the privilege to prove performance. But to give her almost half the quota is not her dad’s or the government’s policy, considered by due process alone!

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at with any feedback or views.